Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vintage Thingies Thursday: Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Cook Book

The charming Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Cook Book was first published in 1959.  My edition dates from 1967.

 I picked this up over the summer at an estate sale, and I have not cooked from it yet, but I have delighted in flipping through it and closely examining the place settings and garnishes.  The contents of this edition include major American Holidays such as Valentine's Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.  A  few special occasion recipes have also been included, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and luncheons.  I find it very funny (but not surprising) that there is an entire section called "Foreign Fare,"  that includes recipes from  the "exotic"  cuisines of Mexico, China, Japan, Scandinavia, and Polynesia (re:  Hawaii).  The editors note on the Contents page that each recipe was tested in the Better Homes & Gardens Test Kitchen until it "rated superior."

I will be certain to show you a little more from this fabulous cookbook now and again, as I think that some of the suggestions for presentation and garnishes are very creative.  (I can't show you a lot, because this book is still protected by copyright).  The food styling has a "crafty" feel to it, and if you've had the opportunity to look through the annual Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Ideas from around the same time period you will understand what I mean. In several sections there are instructions for creating paper centerpieces and party decorations that compliment the recipes.

Of course, there is a full menu for Halloween treats such as Jolly Owls made of candied popcorn balls (click here for a similar recipe), and Goblin Frosties, or sherbet inside of hollowed-out oranges studded with cloves.  Are you decorating for Halloween this year, or having a party?  If you haven't already planned your table centerpiece, or your spooky Jack-o-lantern, why not try one of these kitschy and unique suggestions:

We're keeping Halloween low-key this year to avoid the inevitable over-consumption of candy, but we're definitely going to celebrate the tastes of this holiday. Up next:  a recipe or two for you!


  1. I love looking through old cook books. They have some great pictures and it is fun to read the "new ideas" that they present

  2. I love your cookbook, I have a fondness for old cookbooks, the pictures and graphics are amazing.....Have a wonderful weekend...

  3. Cool cookbook. Love the halloween decor.

  4. Thanks all! I'm glad you liked it -- more to come!


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